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Ep 5: The Summer Suck: The Struggles of Summer with Neurodiverse Kids

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Ahhh, summer time. Swim lessons, water parks, summer camps - it’s the dream life, right? *insert record scratch* For neurodiverse families, that’s not really the case. Instead, summer can be really hard for us.


The usual activities that you think of when summer comes to mind aren’t things that our families can participate in, at least not enjoyably. The lack of structure and the heat all combine into chaos and, let’s just be honest, frustration.


In today’s episode, we talk about the struggles of summer, how we try to cope, and how summer is harder on parents than the kids. Plus, you can hear what our kids think about summer from their perspective.




In this episode, you’ll learn...

  • [11:39] Why summer is so hard for us as parents of neurodiverse children

  • [13:38] Why things like summer camps and water parks don’t really work out for our families

  • [20:48] The lack of structure summer brings is difficult to contend with and why we no longer set expectations during this time

  • [29:18] The little rays of hope we have to offer you about summer

  • [35:31] The Last Word from our kids who share some things that defined their summers growing up, the good and the bad




If you just can't get enough of us, don’t forget to join our newsletter and check out our other projects.


Links mentioned in this episode…

Marvelous Me books Recommends a lot this time, friends…because Summer? Each of these books should allow your children to be occupied for more than two minutes. You’re welcome.



Reading Recommendations for Adults:









Transcript:

Gwen:

If you have an appreciation for honest and often irreverent conversations about parenting humans with neurodiversity, you have found your home. I'm Gwen.

Kristen:

And I'm Kristen. And together we have 35 years' experience parenting some fiercely amazing humans, which gives us an endless supply of stories, of inspiring failures and heartbreaking wins.

Gwen:

Welcome to You Don't Want a Hug, Right? We've been having these conversations for years, cracking ourselves up. We've always wanted to share the hilarity and the hard with other parents. So here we are.

Kristen:

Grab a cozy blanket and a beverage and go hide in a closet nearest you. Happy Sunday, Gwen.

Gwen:

Happy Sunday. Okay.

Kristen:

We've had a week.

Gwen:

It is officially summer around here. I don't know about you.

Kristen:

It is officially summer and boy, do we have some summer feels to share today.

Gwen:

My children are done with school. And your three children are all under your roof for the summer, right?

Kristen:

Yes. Everybody's back from college. Graham is done with his community college classes. Everybody's in the house.

Gwen:

Does it feel a little bit like you just ran at full running, sprinting speed into a brick wall?

Kristen:

Yeah, it's so interesting having them home. I love having them home. But once again, there are no spoons. We are drinking four gallons of milk a week because all we eat is cereal at three in the morning and people are in and out of the house at all hours of the night.

Gwen:

Hold on, hold on. Was one of the things that you just highlighted the fact that there's no spoons?

Kristen:

Yeah.

Gwen:

Oh.

Kristen:

I know my listeners can relate. When you have this gaggle of adolescents in your house, there's no spoons.

Gwen:

Using all the damn spoons.

Kristen:

All the spoons and all the bowls are creating entire microcosms of organisms in the bottom of the bowl stashed around the rooms. And there's mounds of laundry that nobody does. It's like living with vampires. Everybody's up all night playing video games out with their friends and then they sleep all day. So you don't see them, but you smell them there.

Gwen:

Can I just share what I love about what you just said though, my friend?

Kristen:

What?

Gwen:

You just described a situation that anyone with teenagers would be like, "I totally get that, and you got to be the one to share that."

Kristen:

Yeah, that is pretty cool. It is a very typical experience.

Gwen:

A very typical experience.

Kristen:

Not something we say often.

Gwen:

No. So I just wanted to highlight that for you.

Kristen:

Thank you.

Gwen:

You're welcome. Can I just share a Rylanism related to summer?

Kristen:

Yes.

Gwen:

Okay. I mean, he's doing some amazing things. One of which is that he works as a bagger at our local grocery store. I've mentioned that in previous episodes. So he worked from 9:00 to 1:00 this morning, a beautiful way to spend a Sunday morning. Might I add. We just dropped that kid right off at 9:00 AM and we don't see him for four hours. So I picked him up at one. He gets in the car, and I could tell he was in a state because I went into the grocery store to get some coffee and he saw me, and he just threw his hands up in the air as if I had done something wrong just by entering the store. He goes, "Can you give me a minute? I was bringing groceries to a customer's cart." And I was like, "You can absolutely have a minute. I was not in here to reprimand you. I was just getting some coffee." "Oh, sorry mom. How's your day? How's your day, mom?" I was like, "Can we just talk about it in the car? I'm going to go get my coffee."

So we get in the car and he goes, "Ugh. So exhausted." I was like, "Well, you did work four hours. It's a little rainy, so that's okay. You're allowed to be exhausted." So then we're nearing home. He goes, "You know what, mom? I do not want to go to the cottage this summer." So we go to this awesome cottage every summer. It's my aunt and uncle's cottage. It's on a small lake, a boating lake. We fish, we kayak, and it connects to Big Lake Michigan, and we can take the... Like, it's amazing. And I said, "Oh, well, there's nothing to do there. What is there to even do there?" And I was like, "Rylan, we can swim. We can pontoon boat. We can tube. We can kayak. We can go to the beach. We go out for ice cream." He goes, "Could you list anything that we can't just do on your average day at home?" What?

I said, "Did you want me to repeat the list? 'Cause all of those things we can't do on an average day at home." "Well, we could do it on the local lake." Okay. So I said, "You know what, I'm going to come back to this conversation this afternoon because right now I'm feeling very frustrated." "What am I not allowed to be hungry?" "Oh, okay. You are allowed to be hungry, but your kind of being a jerk." And then he just kind of sat there 10 seconds later, Kristen. "So mom, how's your day going?" 10 seconds we were done, moved on. Excited to go to the cottage.

Kristen:

And you're left with the detritus of his rage.

Gwen:

Temporary rage. Just moved right along and ate his lunch, his large lunch meat sandwich and now we're fine. So that is my Rylanism that has to do with summer and what I can expect every single day for the next two and a half to three months.

Kristen:

Moral of the story. Protein people. Our kids need protein to operate their brains.

Gwen:

Oh my gosh.

Kristen:

I have a quick little Grahamism that's related to summer in a way. We just bought an RV, like a trailer, and Greg in his usual fashion has pimped it out so that it's the cutest thing you ever saw on wheels. So Greg and Graham just went to the Black Hills with the trailer for a week. And I am just taking in that extra space that there now is in my brain and my life. Graham is struggling to have any activities outside of video games right now. It's a thing to have him out of the living room for a week just feels like a spacious gift that Greg has given me. But anyway, Graham's really likes summer food, and he really likes corn on the cob. And he recently told me, "Yeah, I'm just a corn kind of guy, but I'm really not one for shucking corn. I'm not one for shucking corn."

Gwen:

In other words, let me eat it. Don't ask me to be involved with it.

Kristen:

Yeah. Who likes shucking corn? Not a single human.

Gwen:

Does he know that you can grill the corn with the shucks on?

Kristen:

I don't know that. That might be a whole other side conversation.

Gwen:

Maybe this could be something he learns to do this summer.

Kristen:

Maybe.

Gwen:

Grilling non-shucked corn.

Kristen:

I'll put it on the list.

Gwen:

I'll bet it's in Rylan's guide to manhood. How to do it.

Kristen:

It probably is.

Gwen:

I know. It teaches him how to turn the grill on.

Kristen:

So folks, today, we are going to talk about summer. It's on our minds. It's in our hearts. It's compressing our chest like a thousand-pound elephant that it always is. It's from the current experiences. It's also from the PTSD of Summer's past. So let me start by saying I'm a little sad today.

Gwen:

Well, and so we were scheduled to record, and Kristen said, "I don't know if I can record today." In my head I said, "Girl, I have the scheduled and my entire summer scheduled. So if we don't record now, we may never do it again because it's summer." And I have to tell you friends, I don't know, this might be the last episode of You Don't Want a Hug, Right?

Kristen:

It might be.

Gwen:

Because it's summer and you might lose us now.

Kristen:

This whole experiment could fail, and I just quit my job to do it. So we have to keep doing it, Gwen.

Gwen:

We do, that's why we're recording. We decided to just be organic. She said, "I'm just blue." And then she said she's blue. And then she explained that Graham and her husband are on a week-long trip. And I was like, "There's no excuse for blueness. He is gone for one week. You don't need to hug anybody for a week. Stop with the blueness."

Kristen:

I don't need to hug anybody or say how I am. But I am down to the last couple of weeks as executive program director at the Joshua School where I've been for the past 10 years. And that is making me want to fall down on the floor sad.

Gwen:

And happy.

Kristen:

Yes, I'm really ready to move on to our podcasting life and our consulting life and our writing life and all the exciting projects we have going on. But I'm going to miss the staff and the students so much that I almost can't think about it. And I would say this, I just was a little bit late for our recording because I went to Costco and friends, we should not go to Costco sad and alone. I'm just going to tell you right now because I walked out of there with-

Gwen:

$700 worth of-

Kristen:

I walked out of there with-

Gwen:

... so much food.

Kristen:

... a very expensive bottle of bourbon.

Gwen:

Ooh.

Kristen:

Some shrimp cocktail, some Capri pants, and a computer. And I got in the car, and I was like, "Who am I? I just don't even understand what just happened."

Gwen:

I fully support the Capris.

Kristen:

And the bourbon.

Gwen:

So well, yes, the bourbon. The shrimp cocktail. I don't know about the freshness, but you live in Denver and it's Costco.

Kristen:

True.

Gwen:

I mean, where did the shrimp come from? First of all?

Kristen:

I don't know. I don't know.

Gwen:

And how long has it been packaged? So I would take back the shrimp cocktail.

Kristen:

So let's talk about summer, Gwen. Why is this so hard?

Gwen:

It is so hard, Kristen, because for an average parent, summer is like, "Ugh, we get to do so many fun things. We get to enjoy the weather, we get to go to this and we get to go to that. And we get to have so many play dates and we don't have to think about school, and we don't have to do any homework."

Kristen:

And their kids are going to camp or they're in sailing club or they're on swim team in our neighborhood, how big that is in Colorado.

Gwen:

And in reality, for our family, we absolutely have to keep up with some schoolwork because different learning challenges cause us to have to do that. So in our house, we had a meeting this morning with our daughter about her tutoring schedule and her online summer programming that she just needs to do if she wants to not feel like she's falling behind in the fall. At traditional school, we don't do camps and that kind of thing for our kids who are neurodiverse typically because they don't work, but when they do work, we build our schedule around them. We don't just have tons of play dates because our kids don't have that many friends to choose from.

And in the summertime, everybody's super busy. And so even the kids that they do associate with, it's hard to nail them down. We don't just go and out and do social things and fun activities because those activities require visual schedules and a lot of prep and the hope that they go as expected. And so families like ours basically don't even try because it's so much work. And when we do try, we come home so exhausted that we hesitate to do another one. Do you want to continue on?

Kristen:

Yeah. Camp is I think a trigger for me because when you have a child who has behaviors, as many of our listeners can relate to, there are very few options for camp. And I'm not just talking about melting down, I'm talking about having aggressive behaviors, which a lot of our kids engage in, especially when they're younger. And even camps geared towards kids with autism and ADHD and other neurodiversity. They draw the line at being able to handle big behavior. So that leaves families like ours when Graham was younger with maybe two or three options for camp, and they're usually pretty darn expensive. So a couple of years we did a camp up in the mountains, wonderful camp outside of Aspen, gazillion dollars. Graham wouldn't sleep over. So I had to go up there and stay in a hotel and bribe him with a very large Lego product if he could make it through the week. And he did.

Gwen:

And let me ask and why do we do those things our listeners might ask?

Kristen:

That's a really good question, Gwen. Why that actual F, do we do those things?

Gwen:

Because for so long we convince ourselves that we should.

Kristen:

Yeah.

Gwen:

Our kids deserve it. They should be able to do these things and they just don't care most of the time.

Kristen:

They really don't. I would say that Graham looked like he hated that five-day camp but looks back on it fondly.

Gwen:

Of course, he does.

Kristen:

So maybe the investment was in the memory, not in the actual experience.

Reagan:

Hey, this is Reagan, Gwen's favorite daughter. When my mom isn't podcasting, she's obsessing over children's books. Seriously. She reads like 50 each week and drags me into libraries constantly. A couple of years ago she opened a diverse and inclusive children's bookstore called Marvelous Me books because she wanted a space where people could find really beautiful and inclusive titles that allow all readers to feel seen. It's pretty cool how many lists she's offered about things like belonging different cultures, ways to be family, the earth, and the lot more. What I like most is that every book she sells shows and celebrates people of all different walks of life. Check it out next time you want to order a book, visit marvelousmebooks.com. You cannot say the name without complimenting yourself. Go ahead, try it.

Gwen:

We did one of those camps in Colorado, but it was for kids who have chronic conditions. Autism was not accepted. So we only told them about the Tourette's because they considered Tourette's a chronic condition.

Kristen:

How did that go?

Gwen:

Well, so he was in a week with kids who have neuro-facial abnormalities. So it was a very unique group, the autism showed up a lot that week.

Kristen:

Thanks autism. Thanks for that.

Gwen:

So he would say things to these kids who looked very different that the rest of the camp was like, "Hey, do you hear what that child said?" But to Rylan, he's just being observant, not judgmental, just observant. And so there were some situations there that didn't go great. And then the next year they put a very bold line on their description for the camp that autism is not a condition that they are able to work with. So I don't know.

Kristen:

Our best bet is to throw them out into a wilderness experience with few people. That's what always goes the best. So really our summers have revolved around camping. Greg would take Jameson and Hayden, mountain biking and camping. Graham and I would stay home and go to the movies and just Netflix and chill because that's our speed. But we did like to try and do those things about, can we just talk about water parks for five seconds? Because that's about as long as I can handle it.

Gwen:

We have tried so many water parks, and you know what it usually looks like, Kristen, it looks like us getting to the top of the line and then him lying on the ground, refusing to get into said ride because he sees that, "Oh, there might be an enclosed tunnel, or the splashing is a little more than he anticipated." And then it looks like the line is backed up. And we waited so long to get to the top that Tim and I pick him up by his flailing legs and arms and put him in said tube. And the teenagers at the top are like, "What do I do? I think I should call Child Protective Services. But we just look at him like, "Don't mess with us right now. This kid's getting in 'cause he's going to like it." And so we are pushed off by this apprehensive teenager. He's screaming for the first five seconds and then what do you know? He loves it. And then we get down to the bottom and he's like, "I want to do that again for the rest of my life."

Kristen:

Oh my gosh.

Gwen:

And then we can go back up. But we usually just do the one ride because to do that on every ride, I mean it's not even a viable option. That's what water parks have looked like for us traditionally. Tell us about you.

Kristen:

Oh, well, for me it's typically trying to keep track of those three littles and then losing track of Graham and looking at the wave pool where there are 5,000 people in the wave pool and trying to find him and just looking for whatever disturbance or scream, you hear somebody scream, you're like, "There he is."

Gwen:

There he is.

Kristen:

And lo and behold, he's over there. Take somebody down. It would never fail. I mean, the amount of anxiety, anticipatory anxiety, I would experience just even thinking about trying to prep for Elitch's or any kind of amusement park or... But especially water park because there's just so many variables outside of your control and the sensory issues and the social, all of the unspoken social rules. I mean, waiting in line. Come on, our kids need to be the caboose.

Gwen:

In every line.

Kristen:

In every line.

Gwen:

And then you don't get to the top.

Kristen:

And then you never get to the top. So it always looks like I'm going to throw some elbows. If people are standing too close, I'm going to tell people what the rules are, and they better follow them. Maybe the wind is coming from the wrong direction and then we change our mind at the top. I mean the list goes on.

Gwen:

And you can't wear sound blocking headphones because they're not waterproof.

Kristen:

No.

Gwen:

And the weighted vests, they put water.

Kristen:

They really do. They're denim people. I don't know why they make them out of denim, but what are you going to do? So yeah, summer is, I think all parents can relate to the challenges of the lack of structure of summer. I think for our families, the lack of structure means that we have to work double time to create some structure. And that used to look like when the kids were little, like a full-on daily schedule that you had. We had the visual pictures, the written, you check it off and then if there's you... We used to have a little picture of a triangle, which meant change so that we could try and build in a little change in case something came up. We've got the change picture, I mean the level of exhaustion. And then we can't go down to our own lake and pool and just relax because there's lots of social challenges.

Gwen:

There's people there.

Kristen:

There's people there. Even now that we're in such a very different phase of life and we're not experiencing this level of needing to structure things up. Greg and I were just walking through the neighborhood and there was a big swim meet, a home swim meet at our lake, at our pool and just watching all the families. And Greg and I were walking through thinking, "Oh, wouldn't that be nice if your kids grew up here and went to swim team and it's our own neighborhood." But we never had that experience, and it wasn't something that we could really participate in. We tried once when the kids were four and Hayden was the only one that tried, and he had so much anxiety that I had to stand in the warmup circle with him. And then the next day I stood five feet behind the warmup circle and the day after that 10 feet and I had visuals, and he could barely make it work.

Gwen:

But you did it.

Kristen:

I did it, but we never did swim team again. The end.

Gwen:

Why? And the reality of summer, just to be highlight that we're kind of a-holes is that it's so much time with our children. It is so much time. And because of all these things we talked about, we're in our homes with these humans an excessive amount of time, which means there is just, I mean, we are hanging on by a thread as far as our ability to be kind to anyone, anytime, anywhere, including our poor husbands who, I mean for in my sake, I'm typically home during the summer. So he comes home from work, and I look at him as if he has just accosted me immediately because I'm just done. I'm so done.

I mean, for me, summer is a time where I just remove all expectations for accomplishing, learning, growing, checking off lists. We do not make lists of like, "Oh, here's the recipes we're going to do, or the cocktails I want to make." We buy canned beverages, we buy pre-packaged foods, we make sure our library cards are ready to go. In summer, I wake up and I breathe, and I stretch, and I do two minutes of meditation. I might chant a mantra for the morning knowing I'll have to rechant that every 30 minutes for the rest of the day. I mean, historically we have used our laminated dry erase schedules, blown up life-sized tape to the most visible wall on the most visible room next to our baskets of fidget's timers and weighted blankets. Next to that is our toy bins with puzzles and games and books and art supplies labeled and color coded.

Kristen:

Wow.

Gwen:

That's summer.

Kristen:

Also, we spend about $20,000 on Lego products because we don't care how much it costs. If that child has a Lego project, we can get him off of video games and we might be able to convince him to go to the pool once a week. Take a dip. Yeah, it's tough. I like your comment about throwing expectations out the window, but for so many years, I think you start the summer with these really high expectations of what are we going to do? What's interesting, the most successful things we've ever done over all the summers is every other... I'm from New Jersey and New England, all my family's there. Every other summer we take the kids and go back to see my family. And weirdly, it's always outrageously successful. And I don't know if it's because we're traveling, we have to be more structured, and the kids love my family, and they love the East Coast. They love the ocean. That has always been a really, really positive, bright part of the summer for us.

Gwen:

That's fantastic.

Kristen:

Yeah.

Gwen:

And you just have to go with what works and do it over and over and over, right?

Kristen:

Yeah. And you have to let go of limitations, especially when, well, we'll do a whole thing on travel, but let go of screen time, let go of-

Gwen:

Kristen tells me that all the time. She's like-

Kristen:

I do.

Gwen:

... "Why aren't they on screens?"

Kristen:

Please put them on screen.

Gwen:

Why put them on screens? But I do just have this internal, I just said to Rylan, he just worked all morning. He's like, "Can I have screen time?" And my immediate reaction is no. And then I say, "When? What? Give him a fricking screen." It's just my gut reaction.

Kristen:

AKA give yourself that screen, Gwen.

Gwen:

I know, I know. But he wanted to be in my office and that's where I had to record. So it was a no, Kristen. I don't know, I think I've learned that if we have fun, I let myself be surprised by that and not feel guilty and just soak it up when it's happening. If there's smiling from all of us collectively, mainly me, the kids are generally happy no matter what they're doing. It's mainly me that struggles with summer. So if we're having a lot of fun in a moment, I just live in it. I revel in it knowing that was a surprise.

Kristen:

And let's be clear, it's not our kids that have a hard time in the summer. Yeah, it is us.

Gwen:

Yeah.

Kristen:

We are the ones that have a hard time.

Gwen:

Mm-hmm. That's true.

Kristen:

It's all the expectations we put on ourselves and all the therapies that we think we still have to do. Which I learned to put on hold over the summer months because it just felt like too much.

Gwen:

Yeah, I never learned that. So that's a good lesson. Just stop the therapies, give yourself a break. And I would be remiss if I didn't note that. I know summer's almost over when Rylan wakes up and just naturally settles into his day.

Kristen:

Just when we're getting the hang of it.

Gwen:

Right? Summer's almost over when I don't feel like I'm on the front lines of a battle. So that's when I can stop and be like, "Oh, school must be going back next week." Summer's almost over when my shoulders are down and not against my ear lobes or when I'm like, "Hey, we should schedule something with someone summer's overdone. That's how it rolls." But that's how any transition this is... You could relate this to Christmas break and spring break, all the things. But summer is, it's so long.

Kristen:

It's a particular kind of torture because of the length and because you have these expectations you've been waiting for summer, we have childhood memories of summer. We want to experience a slower pace of life, enjoy nature, get out there and do things. And it just isn't like so many things the way we think it's going to go down. But now we've learned exactly how it's going to go down.

Gwen:

We have, and I'll also note that it's so hot.

Kristen:

It's so hot.

Gwen:

So freaking hot. And when it's hot, Rylan in particular, you can imagine that he almost dies daily.

Kristen:

Yeah, I would say dies.

Gwen:

Almost

Kristen:

I would say Graham is the same.

Gwen:

And I can't say I'm much different. I hate the heat, I hate it. But you know what, let's give our listener some hope because this summer, as much work as I have put into it already, and it just started one day ago, I think that we're going to find more success this summer than we ever have. I actually am looking forward to summer, and I don't know that I've been able to say that for 14 years. And it's because Rylan's going to be gone so much. He's going to be working a lot and he's going to take swim lessons every morning and he can't do swim team. I'll just make that note. He's doing swimming lessons even though he'll be the only 16-year-old doing swimming lessons, whatever.

Kristen:

Please take some video of that. I need to see that.

Gwen:

I will. He loves the butterfly stroke, which is-

Kristen:

Of course, he does.

Gwen:

... I mean it is. It's the most challenging stroke and the most clumsy, even when you're really good at it. But it is his favorite stroke. So we're going to master it. We are going to master it. But swim team, he can't do swim team. He wanted to do swim team, Kristen. He asked to do swim team and we had to say no, all these kids have been swimming their whole life. They're excellent swimmers. We can't throw him into the social suicide of being on a swim team when he's six feet one inch tall and trying to butterfly his way across the pool. Are you kidding me? And he'll like stand up in the middle and be like, "Hey mom, you got a snack ready?" We can't do that. And then the refs, whatever they call themselves, umps. I don't know. What are they?

Kristen:

I don't know. Coaches-

Gwen:

Judges?

Kristen:

I don't know. Judges. That's right. Judges.

Gwen:

Judges will look at me like, "Ma'am. He's DQ. Yeah, no shit." Yeah, every time. Yeah.

Kristen:

We're familiar with the DQ friend. It's happening every day.

Gwen:

We're not here to qualify. Okay. Just here to exercise. So swim lessons it is. Swim lessons.

Kristen:

Well, that is hope though, that you are maybe approaching the summer a little bit differently and that your kids have gained a lot of skills.

Gwen:

Yes, I think so. Yeah. He's working at a camp this summer and he's going to live there for three weeks.

Kristen:

Oh my God.

Gwen:

I know. I can't even, and he's driving like he's getting his permit this week. Did I tell you that? He got all of his supervised drives in and driver's ed and now he's getting his permit, so he's going to learn to drive.

Kristen:

You know what that means, Gwen?

Gwen:

What?

Kristen:

You're going to have to drive with him?

Gwen:

Nope. Nope. Tim's doing all-

Kristen:

That's Tim's job.

Gwen:

... 700 hours. You know what he said? "Well, mom, obviously all of my driving time is going to be driving to galactic toys for Pokemon tournaments." Okay.

Kristen:

That's all you need to do, bud. Just do it at night and then maybe do it uphill.

Gwen:

14-minute drive. We're going to get all your 60 hours in. You think I'm going to galactic toys that much? I'm not. So anyway, that's going to be summer, and I think it's going to be successful. However, like we said before, I think I'm done podcasting because I don't know how I'm going to have time to do one single thing for myself. So then there's all of the parents who work full-time outside of the home. Game over.

Kristen:

Game over.

Gwen:

I don't know how we do it. I don't, don't know how we do it. 'Cause you can't just hire a teenage babysitter, can we? No.

Kristen:

Oh God. No.

Gwen:

We haven't even talked about babysitting, but no-

Kristen:

No.

Gwen:

... is there a babysitter?

Kristen:

The "babysitter" needs to be a board-certified behavior analyst, friends and covered by insurance.

Gwen:

Yeah, you cannot just bring in Sally down the street who's 15 and CPR certified. Sorry, Sally. That's great. Cannot babysit here.

Kristen:

Sorry, Sally. Unless you know how to do behavioral intervention, we aren't going to be friends.

Gwen:

Do you think that our listeners are just stopping listening to us right now?

Kristen:

Maybe we should-

Gwen:

We sound like just the worst.

Kristen:

We do sound like the worst. I think we should hand it off to our kids at this point.

Gwen:

However, what I did do for all of you is I put in a resource guide into the show notes for this one. That is so long as far as stuff you can get from Marvelous Me books, because we have to just do so many things at home inside with our kids or in our backyards. So you can take them to the park even maybe on a leash.

Kristen:

Also, Gwen is going to put in her schedule that she created for the summer so that you can laugh while you're drinking your drink because you'd be able to pull off this highly organized situation for two days and then you'll just throw up your hands.

Gwen:

I do this every summer because in my mind I feel like I've tried my best. If I design something in Canva and it looks fun, Reagan's has things she's into Rylan has images of turtles and Pokemons as motivators, and then we fill it out and then we use it for the first three days and then we never use it again. But you know what? The four hours that I put into each document makes me feel like I've done my very best.

Kristen:

Brought you some joy.

Gwen:

Nope. Nope. Just made you feel like accomplished.

Kristen:

Accomplished, okay.

Gwen:

And the kids get excited about it for a few minutes.

Kristen:

Because it looks cute.

Gwen:

It's super cute and laminated.

Kristen:

Of course, it's laminated.

Gwen:

It's laminated. All right. Are we handing it over to our kids?

Kristen:

I think so.

Gwen:

By the way, you're going to hear them talk about how amazing summer is. Don't be fooled.

Kristen:

Don't let them fool you.

Gwen:

Don't be fooled friends. Hasta la vista.

Kristen:

Bye.

Reagan:

We know our moms are amazing, but they don't know everything. We think that you deserve to hear from the real expert. They're kids. We believe in nothing about us without us. So here it is. The last word.

Gwen:

Hey, Ry. So we're talking about summer, and I just wanted you to share with our listeners, historically as a kid, how has summer felt to you? Is it exciting, fun, adventurous, nerve wracking? What do you think?

Rylan:

I think it's quite fun because you have a lot more time to do fun stuff. Summer projects, it's warm, so you can do maybe a garden or something.

Gwen:

Have you ever done a garden?

Rylan:

No.

Gwen:

Oh, well, you could.

Rylan:

In the winter you can't plant seeds because then they die.

Gwen:

All right.

Rylan:

But the summer, it's a different story.

Gwen:

It sure is. What else do you think about summer? Is there anything that's hard about it?

Rylan:

For smart kids, I would say summer camps are pretty stressful for some people that are younger. They're not that stressful for me anymore.

Gwen:

What caused them to be stressful when you were younger?

Rylan:

Super loud. First day, probably some people get homesick.

Gwen:

So when you walked into a typical summer camp when you were younger, what did it feel like?

Rylan:

Too much happening.

Gwen:

Too much happening.

Rylan:

I remember one camp there was way too many people and it's one auditorium and everyone was super loud, and I had to go to another room.

Gwen:

I remember that they would have a special room for you to go and that's how you could go to camp.

Kristen:

Jameson, our episode today was about summer and how sometimes summer could be hard for families with differences, especially when it comes to organized sports or camps or things like that. What are some of the things that defined your childhood, some things that didn't work or things that you remember fondly?

Jameson:

One of the things that I specifically remember that did not work for me, well, not really work. I guess just something I very vividly remember is I think when I was in fourth grade and you and dad signed me and Hayden up for, I think it was like a YMCA sponsored camp. And it was very much against my will. I remember being very upset about it.

Kristen:

It was a week up in the mountains.

Jameson:

Yeah, and-

Kristen:

Sleepaway camp.

Jameson:

I mean, it was actually quite fun. I did have quite a lot of fun memories and made camp friends who contributed to my cringey ass teenage years. But-

Kristen:

What was hard about it? Why did you resist?

Jameson:

Because the big one is I didn't really know about it, and I didn't really get a say in it. And I feel like sure, people would be upset about that, but it was more that it was not really my routine where I was like, "I'm going to integrate this into that. And considering the fact that also it was a week." So there's not very much you can really do to structure that out. But what worked good for me is in high school when I was in marching band, I did band camp and that was throughout the entire summer. And that was just standard, really straightforward schedule, never hardly changed. And when it did, it was super small. It was seven to eight hours a day all week in really intense blocks of time and such. It was pretty fun. I remember that working pretty good for me.

Kristen:

Haydes, today our episode was about summer and just how summer could be really hard for families like ours when we had differences and a lot of organized camps and sports and things like that were really hard for us. What are your memories of summer?

Hayden:

Well, as a kid, I always remember our summer very fondly because I mean, that was the time where I had the least going on when it came to things like school and organized events, just because those would always give me, those would always be too overwhelming for me. And I just like doing my own thing on my time. So over the summers, I would always remember going out into nature. I was big into fishing, hiking. I would go down and explore and that's what brought me ease. That's what brought me peace.

Gwen:

Thanks for joining us for this episode of You Don't Want a Hug, Right? We'd sure love it. If you'd subscribe to our show and your favorite podcast app, missing enough episode would be catastrophic.

Kristen:

And if you just can't get enough of us, join our newsletter, and dig into all of our other projects and ways you can connect with us at youdontwantahug.com.

Gwen:

And food for thought, if you need to create a panic room out of your closet. In order to find that parenting kindness, we offer our fullest support. See you next time.








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